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AB-2018 Mental health workforce planning: loan forgiveness and scholarship programs.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 02/05/2018 09:00 PM
AB2018:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 2018


Introduced by Assembly Member Maienschein

February 05, 2018


An act to amend Section 5822 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to mental health.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2018, as introduced, Maienschein. Mental health workforce planning: loan forgiveness and scholarship programs.
Existing law, the Mental Health Services Act, an initiative measure enacted by the voters as Proposition 63 at the November 2, 2004, statewide general election, requires the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD), in coordination with the California Behavioral Health Planning Council, to identify the total statewide needs for each professional and other occupational category utilizing county needs assessment information and develop a 5-year education and training development plan. Existing law requires OSHPD to include specified components in the 5-year plan, including expansion plans for the forgiveness and scholarship programs offered in return for a commitment to employment in California’s public mental health system and making loan forgiveness programs available to current employees of the mental health system who want to obtain Associate of Arts, Bachelor of Arts, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees.
This bill would clarify that OSHPD needs to include in the 5-year plan both expansion plans for loan forgiveness and scholarship programs offered in return for a commitment to employment in California’s public mental health system and expansion plans for making loan forgiveness programs available to current employees of the mental health system who want to obtain Associate of Arts, Bachelor of Arts, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees. The bill would also make specified findings and declarations.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Despite escalating tuition costs, medical students across the nation are willing to take on more and more loan debt. This has led to a median indebtedness of $190,000 in 2016; compared with $32,000 in 1986 ($70,000 in 2017 dollars), according to a survey published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Internal Medicine on September 5, 2017.
(b) It is not unusual in California to find psychiatric residents in training with debt loads that exceed $200,000.
(c) Student indebtedness solutions are a high priority issue for many medical students, driving career choices towards higher paying specialties or practice settings and away from practice settings in underserved and community mental health systems.
(d) California’s 58 counties consistently have one psychiatrist vacancy for every four psychiatrist positions in county-operated community mental health systems.
(e) Effective debt relief options are part of a comprehensive strategy to recruit medical students to a career in psychiatry, and steering psychiatric residents into training as community psychiatry specialists.
(f) An effective loan repayment or forgiveness strategy acts as an incentive to attract medical students to specialize in psychiatry, and psychiatric residents in training to further specialize in community psychiatry. This will help increase access to psychiatric care in community mental health systems.
(g) One innovative practice is to provide access to early loan repayment during the pendency of training to trainees in psychiatry who are committed to working in the community mental health system.

SEC. 2.

 Section 5822 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

5822.
 The Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development shall include in the five-year plan:
(a) Expansion plans for the capacity of postsecondary education to meet the needs of identified mental health occupational shortages.
(b) Expansion plans for the loan forgiveness and scholarship programs offered in return for a commitment to employment in California’s public mental health system and make loan system.
(c) Expansion plans for making loan forgiveness programs available to current employees of the mental health system who want to obtain Associate of Arts, Bachelor of Arts, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees.

(c)

(d) Creation of a stipend program modeled after the federal Title IV-E program for persons enrolled in academic institutions who want to be employed in the mental health system.

(d)

(e) Establishment of regional partnerships between the mental health system and the educational system to expand outreach to multicultural communities, increase the diversity of the mental health workforce, to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, and to promote the use of web-based technologies, and distance learning techniques.

(e)

(f) Strategies to recruit high school students for mental health occupations, increasing the prevalence of mental health occupations in high school career development programs such as health science academies, adult schools, and regional occupation centers and programs, and increasing the number of human service academies.

(f)

(g) Curriculum to train and retrain staff to provide services in accordance with the provisions and principles of Part 3 (commencing with Section 5800), Part 3.2 (commencing with Section 5830), Part 3.6 (commencing with Section 5840), and Part 4 (commencing with Section 5850) of this division.

(g)

(h) Promotion of the employment of mental health consumers and family members in the mental health system.

(h)

(i) Promotion of the meaningful inclusion of mental health consumers and family members and incorporating their viewpoint and experiences in the training and education programs in subdivisions (a) through (f). (g).

(i)

(j) Promotion of meaningful inclusion of diverse, racial, and ethnic community members who are underrepresented in the mental health provider network.

(j)

(k) Promotion of the inclusion of cultural competency in the training and education programs in subdivisions (a) through (f). (g).